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The Prophet of Yonwood
Cover of The Prophet of Yonwood
The Prophet of Yonwood
Ember Series, Book 3
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It's 50 years before the settlement of the city of Ember, and the world is in crisis. War looms on the horizon as 11-year-old Nickie and her aunt travel to the small town of Yonwood, North Carolina....
It's 50 years before the settlement of the city of Ember, and the world is in crisis. War looms on the horizon as 11-year-old Nickie and her aunt travel to the small town of Yonwood, North Carolina....
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  • It's 50 years before the settlement of the city of Ember, and the world is in crisis. War looms on the horizon as 11-year-old Nickie and her aunt travel to the small town of Yonwood, North Carolina. There, one of the town's respected citizens has had a terrible vision of fire and destruction. Her garbled words are taken as prophetic instruction on how to avoid the coming disaster. If only they can be interpreted correctly. . . .
    As the people of Yonwood scramble to make sense of the woman's mysterious utterances, Nickie explores the oddities she finds around town—her great-grandfather's peculiar journals and papers, a reclusive neighbor who studies the heavens, a strange boy who is fascinated with snakes—all while keeping an eye out for ways to help the world. Is this vision her chance? Or is it already too late to avoid a devastating war?
    In this prequel to the acclaimed The City of Ember and The People of Sparks, Jeanne DuPrau investigates how, in a world that seems out of control, hope and comfort can be found in the strangest of places.
    From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    The Vision

    On a warm July afternoon in the town of Yonwood, North Carolina, a woman named Althea Tower went out to her backyard to fill the bird feeder. She opened her sack of sunflower seeds, lifted the bird feeder's lid--and that was when, without warning, the vision assailed her.

    It was like a waking dream. The trees and grass and birds faded away, and in their place she saw blind­ing flashes of light so searingly bright she staggered backward, dropped her sack of birdseed, and fell to the ground. Billows of fire rose around her, and a hot wind roared. She felt herself flung high into the sky, and from there she looked down on a dreadful scene. The whole earth boiled with flames and black smoke. The noise was terrible--a howling and crashing and crackling--and finally, when the firestorm subsided, there came a silence that was more terrible still.

    When the vision finally faded, it left Althea stunned. She lay on the ground, unable to move, with her mind all jumbled and birds pecking at the spilled birdseed around her. She might have lain there for hours if Mrs. Brenda Beeson had not happened to come by a few minutes later to bring her a basket of strawberries.

    Seeing Althea on the ground, Mrs. Beeson rushed forward. She bent over her friend and spoke to her, but Althea only moaned. So Mrs. Beeson used her cell phone to call for help. Within minutes, four of her best friends--the doctor, the police chief, the town mayor, and the minister of the church--had all arrived. The doctor squatted beside Althea and spoke slowly and loudly. "Can you tell us what's wrong?" he said. "What is it?"

    Althea shivered. Her lips twisted as she tried to speak. Everyone leaned in to hear.

    "It's God," she whispered. "God. I saw...I saw..." She trailed off.

    "Merciful heavens," said Brenda Beeson. "She's had a vision."

    Of course they didn't know at first what her vision had been. They thought maybe she'd seen God. But why would that frighten her so? Why would she be muttering about fire and smoke and disaster?

    Days went by, and Althea didn't get better. She lay on her bed hardly moving, staring into the air and mumbling. Then, exactly a week later, a clue to the mystery came. The president of the United States announced that talks with the Phalanx Nations had reached a crisis. Their leaders would not give in on any of their demands, and the leaders of the United States would not give in on theirs. Unless some sort of agree­ment could be reached, the president said, it might be necessary to go to war.

    Brenda Beeson made the connection right away: War! That must be what Althea Tower had seen. Mrs. Beeson called her friends, they told their friends, the newspaper wrote it up, and soon the whole town knew: Althea Tower had seen the future, and it was terrible.

    All over Yonwood, people gathered in frightened clusters to talk. Could it be true? The more they thought about it, the more it seemed it could be. Althea had always been a quiet, sensible person, not the sort to make things up. And these were strange times, what with conflicts and terrorists and talk of the end of the world--just the kind of times when visions and miracles were likely to happen.

    Brenda Beeson formed a committee to take care of Althea and pay attention to anything else she might say. People wrote letters to the newspaper about her and left flowers and ribbons and handwritten notes in front of her house. The minister spoke of her in church.

    After a few weeks, nearly everyone was calling her the Prophet.


    Chapter 1: The Inheritance

    Nickie Randolph's first sight of the town of Yonwood...

About the Author-

  • Jeanne DuPrau has been a teacher, an editor, and a technical writer. The People of Sparks is the sequel to The City of Ember and her second novel. She lives in Menlo Park, CA, where she keeps a big garden and a small dog.

Reviews-

  • AudioFile Magazine Eleven-year-old Nickie meets the prophet and her acolytes and learns that good intentions do not always produce good results in a society that lives in fear of an impending war and is looking for guidance and spiritual security. Becky Ann Baker's storytelling skills are showcased in her spirited narration. She makes good use of accents to contrast Nickie and her aunt (the outsiders) and the residents of the small North Carolina town that is home to the prophet. The special effects, which make this production reminiscent of a radio play, are a bit distracting and may blend in with background noise for those listening in less than ideal circumstances. J.E.M. (c) AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 3, 2006
    This third book in DuPrau's series is billed as a prequel to the first two (The City of Ember
    and The People of Sparks
    ), but the connection is tenuous. Eleven-year-old Nickie Randolph wants "to do something helpful for the world," which is on the brink of war. Fear of terrorist activity is wreaking havoc in American cities. Against this backdrop, Nickie and her aunt travel from Philadelphia to Yonwood, in the North Carolina mountains, to prepare Nickie's great-grandfather's home for sale. Yonwood is a tense, parochial town, where the fevered ramblings of an older woman have been seized upon as "visions," and the woman hailed as a prophet. Local busybody Brenda Beeson, whose mantra is "one moldy strawberry can ruin the whole basket," zealously takes charge, interpreting the Prophet's messages and building a "shield of goodness" against impending evil. DuPrau scatters the text with intriguing elements—clues hidden in postcards, mysterious writings about "eleven dimensions" found in a journal—but they function more as entertaining distractions rather than to advance the story. DuPrau unfortunately undercuts the novel's more serious themes—the nature of goodness, and of God—with a manipulative, rather nonsensical denouement. But while the plot never fully ignites, the smooth writing will carry fans of the first two books along, and there's ample room (50 years) between this book and Ember
    for yet another prequel. Ages 8-12.

  • School Library Journal

    October 1, 2006
    Gr 4-8-Nickie longs to escape from her life in Philadelphia where everything seems to be going wrong. She thinks she has found the perfect haven in her great-grandfathers estate in Yonwood, NC. But the war between the United States and the Phalanx Nations seems imminent and the Church of the Fiery Vision takes over the town, and all her goals seem farther away than ever. In Yonwood, people are not what they seem. The host of characters include a prophet and her interpreter who the townspeople blindly follow, a girl in the closet, a boy obsessed with snakes, and a hermit who can crack open the sky. Jean DuPrau has created an unusual prequel (Random, 2006) to "The City of Ember" (2003) and "The People of Sparks" (2004, both Random). Rather than the pre-apocalyptic climate one would expect, the backwoods setting, the humming bracelet, and the robot vacuum cleaner give the novel a strange anachronistic feeling. Becky Ann Bakers depiction of the native North Carolinian accent is believable, and she voices all the characters perfectly. Sound effects enhance the telling. Listeners new to the series will have no problem following alongthis title can stand on its own. The ending drags a bit as DuPrau tries to wrap up all the subplots. Ember fans will be a little disappointed that only the subtleties in the last chapter, What Happened Afterward, point to "The City of Ember". This timely novel offers astute observations about human relations, the fallibility of human perception, and the danger of over-zealousness."Ann Crewdson, King County Library System, Issaquah, WA"

    Copyright 2006 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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